I am a runner.
There is something terrifying about making that statement. Like someone is going to pop out and point their finger at me and say, “Aha! We got you! You’re not a real runner!” Despite training for my third marathon and having run four half marathons and a dozen shorter races, there’s still a little voice in my head worrying that’s not enough to call myself a runner.
Just over two years ago, I quit smoking and started training for my first half marathon. Before that, all my (very slow) running had pretty much been on a rugby pitch or treadmill.
I started running on the rail trail and was discouraged by how hard I found it to run outside. Running sucked. Even with music all I kept thinking was, “Ugh, I’m still running.” I felt every. single. step. But because I was training for something I kept going. At some point, I started to fall in love. I don’t know when it happened. The runs did not magically become easy, I did not lose 50 pounds, but I felt good, strong, and purposeful.
Now running is what keeps me balanced and happy. I’m almost always training for something so its never a question of whether I’m going to run or stay in bed, it’s just how far/fast am I going? Not all my runs are great and easy. Some runs are hard, and part of the satisfaction of finishing them is that I had to work to get it done. I have had some terrible training runs that have me questioning what I was thinking signing up for a certain race. Runs that leave me with the dreaded negative thought, “You’re not a runner.” But I prove those thoughts wrong by getting up the next day and every day after and going for another run.